Documentation for MLS export files?

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
RossEvans
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Documentation for MLS export files?

Postby RossEvans » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:27 pm

Can anyone point me to documentation for the standard .csv files exported by MLS? Most fields are self-explanatory, but I have some questions.

In particular, right now I am researching Membership.csv.

There are two fields in that file called "Indiv ID" and "HofH ID" that apparently are some kind of ordinal enumerations within each ward. How permanent are these within a ward MLS system? When, if ever, would MLS ever alter these fields for a given member or household? Are numbers ever reused?

I vaguely recall similar fields from the old MIS system.

Thanks in advance for any help.

lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:41 pm

boomerbubba wrote:"Indiv ID" and "HofH ID" ... How permanent are these within a ward MLS system?


I know of no documentation. And I would not be surprised if those IDs were rewritten any time the indexes were rebuilt with a backup and restore.

You might want to try that with the test data base. Load a group of families. Run the Membership.csv and then delete a few individuals, including heads of households.

Then do a backup, restore from that backup, and run another Membership.csv file and compare them. You will find out right away if the Indiv ID and HofH ID numbers float.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:23 am

lajackson wrote:I know of no documentation. And I would not be surprised if those IDs were rewritten any time the indexes were rebuilt with a backup and restore.


Thanks for that warning. Even without testing, assuming your conjecture is correct, we have decided to take the risk and use these fields for an application we are working on.

We need a reliable key that uniquely identifies each household, but we don't want this key to be anything confidential because it will be shared between the clerks and someone else in a particular calling. The "HofH ID" seems to fit the requirement best, without introducing a lot of new complexity. If we ever have to restore MLS and must reintiialize these external files, so be it.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:09 pm

lajackson wrote:And I would not be surprised if those IDs were rewritten any time the indexes were rebuilt with a backup and restore.


To put some closure on this ancient conjecture, we just had occasion to restore our MLS data from backup, as part of the installation of MLS on a replacement PC. The two ID fields survived the backup/restore process. So they are pretty reliable keys to use for joining to external tables.


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